They give me back the time I would need to do all that research and they act as an advocate for my program if I come upon any challenges within the destination.
Eve Schmitt, MBA, CMP, CEM, Senior Manager Global Meeting Sourcing and Vendor Relations for VMware Inc. shares some great insights on meeting planning “intel,” and Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI’s) Terri Roberts gets the inside track.
In my conversation with Eve, it was immediately clear she is a strong meetings industry advocate who takes great pride in what she does, as well as in the impact meetings have on the health of our economy. She is a Meeting Professional with extensive management and production experience in meetings, expositions, special events, travel and housing procurement. Her focus is on creating sustainable meeting and events. This gives Eve the unique opportunity to combine her own values with the goals of her company and control the impact they leave on the destinations in which they convene. She presently sits on the advisory board for Monterey County CVB, New Orleans CVB, and the San Antonio CVB, as well as consulting for Las Vegas CVA.
Previously, Eve held positions as General Manager for GES Exposition Services, General Manager for the San Francisco Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall, Training Manager for Glacier National Park Resort and Special Events Manager for America West Sports Arena.
Eve is active in numerous industry associations and has sat on many association boards including Meeting Professional International, Green Meeting Industry Council and International Association for Exhibition and Event Management. She is the past President of the Green Meeting Industry Council for Northern California, Executive Board member for IAEENCC, and Advisory Board for MPI. Eve is a past recipient of the Women’s Leadership Award from MPI and Meeting Professional of the year by MPI‘s Northern California Chapter. She is a Group leader and a course instructor for Certified Meeting Professional candidates through the Convention Industry Council and is a Faculty member of IAEE teaching courses to Certified Exhibition Management candidates. Eve also holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Human Resource Management.
TERRI: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
EVE: I first became aware of CVBs through industry educational forums and from CVB hosted destination programs.
TERRI: How has your relationship with Monterey County CVB grown/changed over time?
EVE: It has evolved from a basic research and fulfillment process to a full strategic partnership. I suppose many relationships begin with submitting information, in order to get information back, but I have developed a relationship with Monterey County CVB in particular, where they have taken it a step further. It is their intention to really want to understand the nature of your company’s culture. They are vested in knowing the company, why we have particular programs, and then trying to find the best solutions in their destination. It is necessary to have a lot of dialogue about your goals and mission and that naturally takes time, but there is a fine line between the science of selling something vs. the art of accommodation. MCCVB has acted as a resource and a coach beyond just being self-serving. They have even made recommendations outside their organization and destination when they felt they didn’t have the right fit, and that really speaks volumes.
CVBs who get this approach understand it takes time, but if the CVBs get it and have artful people who make it their business to engage to create an experience instead of just another transaction, that is powerful.
TERRI: What do you most value about your relationship with MCCVB/other CVBs in general?
EVE: I most value their commitment to helping me find the right solution for the program that best reflects the best of the destination and their ability to respond in a timely manner.
TERRI: How would you describe the relationship?
EVE: My relationship with CVBs is essential to doing my job and utilizing my time in the most productive manner.
TERRI: What would you compare it to?
EVE: I would compare them to a family cookbook because without the right ingredients the end result is tasteless.
TERRI: Which specific services do you rely on?
EVE: I rely on the CVBs I work with to help me find meetings space, secure hotel room blocks, search out special event space, hospitality services, transportation, local entertainment and activities and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) opportunities in the local community, even marketing support for promoting my meeting!
TERRI: What do you think is unique about the value they provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
EVE: I find CVBs to be non-partisan in representing all members and also trying to promote the best experience for the attendees.
TERRI: How do they make your job easier?
EVE: They give me back the time I would need to do all that research and they act as an advocate for my program if I come upon any challenges within the destination.
TERRI: If you didn’t use a CVB, how would you replace their services?
EVE: I could only replace them with lots of staff and with lots of my time.
TERRI: What would you like other planners to know about using a CVB?
EVE: Using a CVB is one of the best resources a planner can have. They are like extend “unpaid” staff that is fully committed to your program’s success. They know better than anyone the unique experiences of their destination, and are the best of hosts in making sure that your program reflects in the best light why you chose the destination.